The art-making never stops. Not even for the holidays. And, that is as it should be. While we took a much-needed pause to reflect and celebrate with loved ones, we’re delighted to be fully back in the swing of things this week, including hosting one of our fabulous artists-in-residence for the second time this season.
The ever-luminous Sussan Dehyim and her collaborators are currently installed in the Royce Hall rehearsal room, putting the finishing touches of a work-in-progress viewing of “The House is Black,”a multimedia performance and film project inspired by the works and life of Forugh Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential feminist poets and filmmakers of the 20th Century.
This highly anticipated 45-minute preview will take place on Jan 19th at Freud Playhouse as part of Sussan’s creative residency at CAP UCLA. She was in residence in November 2013 and we’ve been proud to support Sussan and her collaborators thus far with the time and space for this emerging project. We now invite you to directly support her as well and get a glimpse of what’s in store from this eclectic and engaging new work. Visit http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-house-is-black for more information on how to get seats to this performance.
Sussan has created a series of non-linear poetic tableaux inspired by the poems of Forugh Farrokhzad. The audience travels through a visual, sonic and theatrical journey into the heart of Fraough’s prophetic vision where her most intimate; soulful and provocative moments leap of the page and onto the stage. Her message is as poetically and politically relevant today for the women of Iran and the world as it was fifty years ago when she died tragically at the age of 32.
“The House is Black” features original score composed by Deyhim and the Golden Globe winning composer Richard Horowitz, featuring brilliant special guests, creates a cinematic musical landscape for the piece. The composition will include influences routed in Persian and Western contemporary classical music, jazz and electronic music with an elaborate sound design component. Archival images and scenes from Forugh’s documentary The House is Black and Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1965 interview with Forugh, along with Deyhim’s original film and visual projections, will create the backdrop and provide a window into the life of Iran’s most controversial poet and filmmaker.
In October we were also proud to host an in-progress showing of another engrossing music and multimedia project from another CAP UCLA artist-in-residence–the interdisciplinary artist and curator Ellina Kevorkian.
In “Some Dreams Contain Dead Time,” Ellie explores the porosity of time and dreams through video and music influenced by the works of Symbolist painter Odilon Redon, 19th-century Spiritualist photography and Victorian fairy paintings.
Ellie took us on a journey of the mind…while our bodies remained seated in the muted darkness of the Royce Hall stage, we watched Ellie’s impressionistic video work—a series of ghostly vignettes treated with splashes of color and Ellie’s own paintings and punctuated by a gloriously eerie and provocative score of vocalizations from Coloratura-in-exilio Juliana Snapper and electronic loops of virtuosic cello, created in the moment by composer/musician Skip vonKuske.
November was a busy month for residencies. The fantastically talented multi-hyphenate artist DBR (a.k.a Daniel Bernard Roumain) was joined by a group of aspiring young musicians from the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. By all accounts it was a love-fest between DBR and these incredibly inspiring students who workshopped a new composition from the acclaimed composer/violinist/bandleader, who is known for blending funk, rock, hip-hop and classical music into an energetic and experiential sonic form. DBR is assiduously morphing a new phase of his already impressive career and we’re incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Another young composer was firmly ensconced on campus this past fall—Mohammad Fairouz, also working with students. Just before we broke for the holiday campus closure, Mohammad and the UCLA Philharmonia presented a gorgeous program of original music devoted to the concepts of peace, unity and multi-cultural religious understanding. We co-presented the concert, titled “Symphonic Poems and Prayers.”
We worked closely with Mohammad on the extensive program notes for the piece. He was eager to make sure his libretto was represented in multiple language texts—Arabic, Hebrew and English. Over the course of working on the notes, we talked a lot about his time here and he was clearly moved by the great spirit of generosity he experienced from the faculty and students he worked with. It’s wonderful to interact with an artist who’s on a total high because they have found their creative pursuits at UCLA incredibly uplifting and rewarding. That’s important to us. It’s an important part of what our residency project is all about.
Mohammad also shared a fun anecdote when I asked him if he was enjoying the sunny respite L.A. has to offer.
He said he was surprised to run into DBR on the streets of Westwood one day, an incident that usually only occurs in the two artists’ home base of New York City.
“What are you doing here?” he asked DBR.
“I’m working with CAP UCLA,” DBR replied. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m ALSO working with CAP UCLA,” Mohammad said.
And that my friends, brought a great smile to my face. That’s the idea. Let’s bring great artists together into this space of ours and see what kind of creative energetic wavelengths emanate from them.
More to come on the residency front. Read more about who will be around in the coming months and how to get involved.